Lately I’ve been having a think of things and have reached an uncomfortable stage in my life so far. It is difficult to accept certain things, especially the ones where your heart has decided to staple itself to, will not or may never happen.Whether it’s romantically, emotionally, personally or careers wise – it hurts a lot. A part of that realisation comes with growing up and realising that time, energy and resources are horribly limited. And the rest of that realisation gradually occurs when your heart realises that its been scarred and wounded by the staple.
A shocking statistic recently showed that less than 2% of black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME) are in mainstream British media whilst they make up over 6% of the population. It’s a disproportionate figure that really puts things into perspective: this is 2014. Whilst we have made strides in certain areas of British society, it is clear that we still have an incredibly long way to go before we achieve “equality.” I’ve seen a number of organisations aimed at “promoting diversity” and giving ethnic minorities a “helping hand” through funds, schemes and campaigns. This is all very well and good but I feel like it’s not enough: you cannot constantly throw money at things and expect them to change over night. Yes funding and money are important, after all the world runs on them, but sometimes all people need is a chance. I find that those of ethnic origin who have managed to smash the glass ceiling and get to a high post, very very rarely do they give back to their communities and help the coming generation. In addition, many organisations are reluctant to do that; instead the positions are magically created out of thin air for Debbie in HR’s daughter’s best friend’s sister’s nephew.
Earlier this year, British comedian Lenny Henry, began a campaign to force British media outlets and organisations to promote greater diversity on TV. Click to read. This was amazing and so encouraging to see; I just hope with all my heart that it works out and 10 years down the line the issue of diversity on TV and in the media isn’t around and doesn’t become a talking house.
You cannot constantly throw money at things and expect them to change
It got me thinking of the implications that this statistic has had and would have. For a long time I’ve always wondered why we have ethnic minority papers in the UK; The Voice, The Eastern Eye to name a few. If Britain was as truly cohesive and accepting of talent from all backgrounds as it claims, why do we still have newspapers and magazines aimed at ethnic minorities? Back in the day, when the migrant generation first arrived in Britain the need, the demand and the comfort of having a newspaper that spoke about a specific community is understandable. I had a conversation with a friend who said that we should abolish ethnic minority newspapers altogether because it indicates that we are not considered to be a “fully integrated part of the British establishment.” I personally think that ethnic minority newspapers are still a necessity especially given the above statistic. Ethnic minority papers discuss community issues in an open manner, bind people and provide many with a sense of comfort that their issues are not being ignored. The main challenge that many of these newspapers face, is making their organisations accessible and understood by a second, third or even fourth generation audience. For many of these establishments play a key role in how young British ethnic minority citizens view themselves, their communities, their cultures and themselves against the backdrop of contemporary British society.